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Congo, Democratic Republic

Last Updated: 09 October 2014

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

Overall Mine Action Performance: Average[1]

Performance Indicator


Problem understood


Target date for completion of clearance


Targeted clearance


Efficient clearance


National funding of program


Timely clearance


Land release system


National mine action standards


Reporting on progress


Improving performance





The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is affected by antipersonnel and antivehicle mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), a result of years of conflict involving neighboring states, militias, and rebel groups. In 2011, the DRC claimed that contamination from mines and ERW existed across the territory,[2] although ERW was more extensive than the mine threat.[3]

In August 2013, the Congolese Mine Action Centre (Centre Congolais de Lutte Antimines, CCLAM) reported that the national database contained records on 1,540 open hazards in all 11 provinces, including 76 mined areas covering approximately 3.6km2.[4] Previously, in March 2013, the DRC launched a national survey, funded by Japan, to address large discrepancies in its data and to determine the full extent of contamination from mines and cluster munition remnants.[5] The survey helped to produce an updated database and determine the resources needed to meet its Article 5 Mine Ban Treaty clearance obligation. The DRC used the survey’s results as the basis for its second Article 5 deadline extension request, which it submitted in April 2014.

By April 2014, following database clean-up and a new national survey, it was reported that 130 mined areas remained in eight provinces (Equateur, Kasaï Occidental, Kasaï Oriental, Maniema, North Kivu, Katanga, Province Orientale, and South Kivu) covering an estimated 1.8km2, more than half of which is located in Equateur and Katanga provinces.[6] The Aru and Dungu territories in Province Orientale were not surveyed due to insecurity.[7]

Mined areas as of April 2014[8]


Mined areas

Size (m2)




Kasaï Occidental



Kasaï Oriental









North Kivu



Province Orientale



South Kivu






As of April 2014, 2,516 victims of mines/ERW had been reported in DRC (1,063 dead, 1,447 injured, and six unknown).[9] Of this total, 856 were caused by mines, and half of all recorded mine incidents occurred in South Kivu (256 victims, 30%) and Equateur (173 victims, 20%) provinces.[10]

Cluster munitions remnants

Following the national survey conducted throughout 2013, the DRC identified five areas contaminated by cluster munitions remnants (type BLU-755) covering a total of 17,590m2 (0.018km2) in Equateur and Katanga provinces.

Cluster munition contaminated areas as of April 2014[11]


Contaminated area (m2)

No. of contaminated areas

Bolomba (Equateur)



Kirungu/Moba (Katanga)






Other explosive remnants of war

A succession of conflicts have left the DRC with unexploded ordnance (UXO), as well as significant quantities of abandoned explosive ordnance, which the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC) considers much greater than landmine contamination. As of August 2013, UNMACC had recorded 1,464 ERW-affected areas.[12] Since 2002, over 250,000 ERW have been destroyed, of which some 27,518 UXO was cleared by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) between January–June 2014.[13] The Development Initiative (TDI) reported that most of the UXO they had found were mortar rounds or grenades, and occasionally locally-produced aircraft bombs.[14]

Mine Action Program

On 9 July 2011, national mine action legislation was signed into law by the DRC president. UNMACC, established in 2002 by UNMAS, coordinates mine action operations in the DRC through offices in the capital, Kinshasa, and Goma, Kalemie, Kananga, Kisangani, and Mbandaka.[15] It maintains de facto responsibility for planning, managing, and monitoring all mine action activities on behalf of the government.[16] UNMACC is part of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) peacekeeping mission. UN Security Council Resolution 1925 mandated UNMACC to strengthen national mine action capacities and support reconstruction through road and infrastructure clearance.[17]

In March 2013, UN Security Council Resolution 2098 called for transfer of demining activities to the UN Country Team and the Congolese authorities.[18] With the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2147 in March 2014, demining activities are no longer included in MONUSCO’s mandate, meaning that as of July 2014, MONUSCO will no longer fund humanitarian demining in the DRC.[19] The Congolese Mine Action Centre (CCLAM) was established in 2012 with support from UNMACC.[20]

Five international operators are accredited for mine action in the DRC: DanChurchAid (DCA), Handicap International (HI), Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Mine Tech International (MTI), and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).[21] As of April 2014, these operators were based in five offices across the country:

·         HI and Mechem were located in the Northern regional office in Kisangani, covering both Province Orientale and Maniema province;

·         DCA, MAG, Mechem, and MTI were located in the Eastern regional office in Goma, covering both North and South Kivu provinces;

·         MAG and NPA were located in the central regional office in Kananga, covering Kasaï Oriental and Kasaï Occidental provinces;

·         Mechem and MAG were located in the Western regional office in Mbandaka, covering the provinces of Bandundu, Bas Congo, Equateur, and Kinshasa;

·         Mechem and MAG were located in the Southern regional office in Kalemie, covering the province of Katanga.[22]

MAG and NPA are training teams in the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) and the National Police (PNC) to conduct demining, battle area clearance (BAC), and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD).[23] Mechem is operating under UN auspices.[24]

No national organizations in DRC were accredited to conduct clearance activities. National organizations are responsible for carrying out non-technical survey and risk education.[25]

Strategic planning

DRC’s national mine action strategic plan for 2012–2016 sets the goal of clearance by the end of 2016 of all areas contaminated with antipersonnel mines or unexploded submunitions, as well as for transition of the mine action program from UN to full national ownership.[26]

Land Release

In 2013, 82 mines were found during clearance of 0.1km2 of contaminated area in the DRC.[27]

Mine clearance in 2013[28]


Mined area cleared (m2)

Antipersonnel mines destroyed

Antivehicle mines destroyed

























Since 2009, demining organizations have cleared a total of about 2km2 of mined areas. Between 2002 and 2011, the DRC reported that 7.5km2 were demined.[29]

Mine clearance in 2009–2013 (m2)[30]


Mined area cleared













Released land is used for agriculture and settlement development, in addition to opening up access to markets, water, and firewood. In addition, MONUSCO uses released land for their field bases and airport terminals.[31]

Cluster munitions clearance

In its voluntary Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 report for 2013, the DRC reported the destruction of 21 cluster munitions during 2013 in Lubutu, Kalemi, and Goma during clearance and BAC operations.[32]

Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (and in accordance with the 26-month extension request granted by States Parties in 2012), the DRC is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 January 2015.

In March 2011, the DRC submitted a request to extend its initial Article 5 deadline of November 2012 by four years.[33] The request largely blamed poor survey by demining operators for the failure to meet its deadline, although poor management and insufficient national ownership of the program were also major factors. In June 2011, however, at the Standing Committee meetings the DRC informed States Parties it was seeking only an interim two-year extension and that it would present a definitive extension request in 2014.[34] It subsequently requested a 26-month extension that States Parties approved at the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties in December 2012.

While clearance operations continued during the extension period, the main activity was the national survey which aimed to provide the DRC with the information needed to submit another extension request in 2014.[35]

On 7 April 2014, the DRC submitted a second request to extend its Article 5 deadline, this time by six years, starting in January 2015. The extension indicates that at least 30% of the total mined areas can be released through technical survey, indicating that some 1.3km2 would need to be cleared.[36] The extension request estimates that on average 0.21km2 will be cleared each year.[37]

The extension request includes annual projections of progress to be made during the extension period, though without providing a detailed work plan with a monthly breakdown of activities for each operator in each area in order to achieve these.[38] It also foresees expenditure of US$20 million, of which some $19.4 million will go to demining the 130 mined areas, while the remainder will be spent on survey and clearance in Aru and Dungu.[39]

Support for Mine Action

In 2013, eight donors contributed a total of US$8.76 million to mine action in the DRC, which represents a decline of about 30% from 2012.[40] About 96% ($8.5 million) of international contributions were allocated to clearance operations.

The DRC also received almost $6.85 million through UN-assessed peacekeeping funds used for support to mine action, a decrease of $1 million from 2012.[41] In 2013, the combined total of all contributions towards DRC’s mine action program was just over $15.6 million.

The DRC has never reported any national contributions to its mine action program. However, in its second Article 5 deadline extension request submitted in April 2014, the DRC announced its willingness to contribute to FC579,831,000 (about US$600,000) a year starting in January 2015.[42]


·         If its extension request is granted by States Parties, the DRC should immediately start developing a detailed work plan setting out activities to be carried out in 2015–2020.

·         As soon as the security situation allows, the DRC should conduct survey in Aru and Dungu territories.


[1] See “Mine Action Program Performance” for more information on performance indicators.

[3] Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), “Humanitarian Disarmament in the DR Congo.”

[4] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Michelle Healy, Program Officer, UN Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC), Kinshasa, 29 April 2013; and email, 30 August 2013.

[5] CCLAM, “Rapport General de l’atelier National Sur La Contamination Par Mines Antipersonnel et Sous Munition en République Démocratique du Congo” (“Report on the National Workshop on Landmine Contamination and ERW in the DRC”), Kinshasa, 26 March 2013.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid., p. 80.

[9] Ibid., p. 12; and UNMAS, “The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Overview,” updated August 2013.

[12] Email from Michelle Healy, UNMACC, Kinshasa, 30 August 2013.

[13] UNMAS, “The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Overview,” updated August 2014.

[14] Email from Simon George, Sales and Marketing Manager, TDI, 22 March 2010; and email from Charles Frisby, UNMACC, 18 July 2010. TDI closed its operations in DRC in 2011.

[15] UNMAS, “The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Overview,” updated August 2013.

[16] Ibid.

[17] UN Security Council Resolution 1925, 28 May 2010; and UN, “2013 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects: Capacity Building of the National Authority, Democratic Republic of the Congo,” New York, December 2012.

[19] UN Security Council Resolution 2147, 28 March 2014; and UNMAS, “DRC Overview,” updated April 2014.

[20] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Michelle Healy, UNMACC, 29 April 2013.

[22] Ibid., pp. 36–37.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid., p. 50; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Michelle Healy, UNMACC, Kinshasa, 29 April 2013.

[26] DRC, “Plan Stratégique National de Lutte Antimines en République Démocratique du Congo, 2012–2016” (“National Mine Action Strategic Plan in DRC, 2012–2016”), Kinshasa, November 2011, p. 28.

[27] UNMACC, “Analyses des Données sur la contamination des mines en République Démocratique du Congo et projections, draft” (“Analysis of mine contamination data in the DRC and projections, draft”), February 2014.

[28] Email from Papy Ditshia, Program Associate, UNMACC, 16 May 2014.

[29] Ibid., Tables 3 and 26, pp. 59 and 81.

[31] Response to Monitor questionnaire from Michelle Healy, UNMACC, Kinshasa, 29 April 2013.

[34] Statement of the DRC, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, 21 June 2011.

[35] Ibid., 27 May 2013.

[37] Ibid., p. 49.

[38] Ibid., p. 81.

[39] Ibid., p. 12.

[40] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Simone van der Post, Policy Officer, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 9 April 2014; email from Ingunn Vatne, Senior Advisor, Section for Humanitarian Affairs, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 28 April 2014; response to Monitor questionnaire by Claudia Moser, Programme Officer, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, 15 April 2014; email from Lisa D. Miller, Public Engagement and Partnerships, Office of Weapons and Removal and Abatement, 9 April 2014; Belgium, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 30 April 2014; Germany, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 5 May 2014; Japan, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 30 April 2014; and United Kingdom, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 30 April 2014.

[41] Email from Papy Ditshia, UNMACC, 16 May 2014.